Small evaluation,city: 4 Internet Cafes, 3 Copy Shops, 2 Photo services; university: 1 library , 1 computer room

Robert Michel openmoko at
Wed Nov 29 17:00:29 CET 2006


I yesterday I thought about:
- internt cafes
- b/w, coulor printing
- photo printing services

So my small quick evaluation in my neighbourhood with 11 localisations,
result overview:

- everywhere were USB Mass Storage devices supported :)
- Wlan only at the area of my university - no internet cafe offers Wlan 
- Bluetooth only in one photo service shop
- Ethernet (with DHCP) at 2 internet cafes
- micro SD - no place where I would could use it without an adapter
- (mini)SD every photo services, 2 of 3 copy shops (1 copy shop ask me
  to bring a USB card reader with me - but it was also the copy shop
  that ask 2 € for printing from CD or USB as basic fee)
- via Internet: 1 copy shop and 1 photo service allows you to send
  data via internet

First conclusions:

- Bluetooth would help me in Aachen city only for use the service
  of one photo service - so is not important (here) for this tasks
  The client Terminal inside the good photo shop that also supported
  IRDA came from the japanise company NORITSU. I look a bit on their
  webpage and didn't found any model, that supports Bluetooth - e.g.:
  So BT is and will be not reliable interface for print-jobs.
- micro SD useless without an adapter - no shop, even the professional
  photo services had an small adapter to miniSD or normal SD.
  On the way to those shops I thought that the microSD slot inside the
  Neo1973 would just be limiting me with getting data from others,
  using bigger size cards inside there camera and that I have to have
  an USB cardreader or try to geth the data from these cameras via USB.
  But I fear that cameras have a special connector and the user will 
  have (of course - murphy) his USB cable at home.
  But I didn't expected a problem inside a photo printing shop with
  micro SD - and even thought that there will be at last one copy shop
  where I can use this cards without having an adapter with me.

  Much much better would it be to sell the Neo with normal SD and one
  micro SD card inside an mini SD adapter, inside an SD adapter.

  So by travelling, "being on the road" for using the full power of
  the neo, after USB cable/adapter an USB cardreader will be the
  most important "must have" accessory with you.
  Could be an idea for a "mass market" Neo, to have such a cardreader
  with the neo-design in the box.

- USB mass storage device  - I could use it everywhere, and some copy
  shops prefer it. Only one internet cafe had the restriction that the 
  USB device will be pluged into the server behind the desk of the
  point-of-sale terminal.
  To use the Neo itself at most location would be a 50 cm USB cabel
  usefull (are there special thin/ligthwight ones with a transport box?)

  But inside the Internet cafes or at the library/computer room I would
  like to use internet with my trustworthy enviroment Neo together with
  an VPN to my server.
  During my tour I had the idea to ask the internet cafes "can I install
  own software on the PC?" One yes, one no and also no the the library,
  one yes at the computerroom. But I have doubts that they gave me the
  right to install a new network device and a routing (as admin) on this

  Wait, because these systems support USB mass storage device - couldn't
  we use a normal browser and on download to a FIFO file and an upload to 
  a   FIFO  to FIFOs on our server? So no local installation, nor Java
  support (I would have doubts that Java will be allowed to access the
  USB mass storage device, especialy not a USB network device...)
  So with this trick we could run an SSH tunnel via the FIFOs and would
  have Internet connection on our NEO at all these locations :))
  This would avoid the need for and USB eterneth adapter and the best:
  - Our device would be charged during visiting the internet cafe
  - no softwareinstallation on the workstation neccesary
  - no network configuration
  - AND it would work with other people PC/Laptop as well - beeing on
    the campus / caffe / airport lounge where other use Wlan - just
    ask them to plug in your USB cable and use a ssh tunnel over
    bidirectional "webbrower to USB mass storage device" routing

  I thing this "hack" would need some keep alive packed from time
  to time ;)

- Printing via Internet - photos or ps/pdf documents would be expensive 
  to download to your Neo first - a small resoulution preview - or
  a xpdf single page (with pictures on the demand) function in
  client/server cooperation with your (v)server somewhere or your
  OpenMoko/NSLU2 at home would be enough to selct what you like
  to print and send the big data without GSM/GPRS traiffic to the
  shop (email or what ever directly)

- AGPS - I would like to ask an (open) database where are the next
  possibilities for printing - costs, opening times, supported
  interfaces/card formats, document formats and distance 
  and even user feedback (quick and friendly..) and would like
  a routing to find this shops

- phone - with the internet connection I could send them my job to
  print - with my phone I could ask how long it will take and go
  there only to catch the ready printed things.

This was an unrepresantive evaluation, but:

- it would be great when something like "webbrower to USB mass storage device" 
  routing would be working

- unpowered USB port - mostly not a problem, but it will start, when
  using an USB cardreader to copy to or from a other cards
  And Wifi on my whole campus would only be usable with special
  battery powerd USB hub.

- microSD slot - not good.

- but the Neo1973 has a high potential, especialy that it could
  behave like a USB mass storage device itself.

Feedback? Other ideas? Other evaluation?





More information about the community mailing list